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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Crime is the result of numerous interconnected and interdependent crime event decisions made by potential offenders, victims, and crime preventers. The majority of these decisions go unobserved, and the situations within which they take place are difficult to control in support of traditional experimental studies. For these reasons, it can be difficult to identify causal links between individual behavior and observable crime phenomena and, in turn, to assess the veracity of proposed crime event decision calculi. This chapter discusses the use of agent-based modeling (ABM), and particularly agent-based social simulation (ABSS), in studying such crime event decision calculi. It outlines how ABM can be used to construct formal models of crime event actors, the decisions they make, and the interactions that occur among them. Subsequently, it proposes that ABSS provide unique means to formally assess the explanatory capacity of proposed crime event decision calculi in explaining observable characteristics of crime.

Keywords: simulation, agent-based modeling, agent-based social simulation, generative explanation, criminal decision making

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